Briefs: Trump lawsuits make the case to count ... and to stop counting
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — As Democrat Joe Biden inched closer to the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House, President Donald Trump's campaign put into action the legal strategy the president had signaled for weeks: attacking the integrity of the voting process in states where the result could mean his defeat.
Democrats scoffed at the legal challenges the president's campaign filed Wednesday in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia. In spite of the aggressive move, the flurry of court action did not seem obviously destined to impact the election's outcome.
The new filings, joining existing Republican legal challenges in Pennsylvania and Nevada, demand better access for campaign observers to locations where ballots are being processed and counted, and raised absentee ballot concerns, the campaign said.
The Associated Press called Michigan for Democrat Joe Biden on Wednesday. The AP has not called Nevada, Pennsylvania or Georgia.
The Trump campaign also is seeking to intervene in a Pennsylvania case at the Supreme Court that deals with whether ballots received up to three days after the election can be counted, deputy campaign manager Justin Clark said.
Democrats begin second guess Florida
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Perhaps only in Florida is a loss by fewer than 4 percentages points considered a public drubbing.
In a state famous for razor-thin margins, the size of former Vice President Joe Biden's loss to President Donald Trump was humiliating for Democrats and sent many searching for answers to how they failed to close the deal with voters — again.
Democrats zeroed in on two clear explanations: Biden didn't connect with the state's Latino voters, performing particularly poorly with Cuban voters in South Florida. They also second-guessed the party's decision to freeze in-person organizing during the worst of the pandemic, a decision that set them back in reaching voters.
"Clearly, Biden was not able to capture the imagination of the Florida electorate and create the type of enthusiasm to go out and vote for Biden like Trump did with his base of supporters in the state," said Fernand Amandi, a Miami-based Democratic pollster. "It's an unacceptable record of futility. What makes it so vexing is that the problems that need to be fixed are so apparent. But they just don't get fixed."
Amandi focused on the Biden campaign's struggles to connect with Hispanic voters in the state.
Trump backers converge on vote centers in Michigan, Arizona
Dozens of angry supporters of President Donald Trump converged on vote-counting centers in Detroit and Phoenix as the returns went against him Wednesday in the two key states, while thousands of anti-Trump protesters demanding a complete tally of the ballots in the still-undecided election took to the streets in cities across the U.S.
"Stop the count!" the Trump supporters chanted in Detroit. "Stop the steal!" they said in Phoenix.
The protests came as the president insisted without evidence that there were major problems with the voting and the ballot counting, especially with mail-in votes, and as Republicans filed suit in various states over the election.
Wearing Trump gear, the Phoenix protesters filled much of the parking lot at the Maricopa County election center, and members of the crowd chanted, "Fox News sucks!" in anger over the network declaring Joe Biden the winner in Arizona.
Rep. Paul Gosar, an Arizona Republican and staunch Trump supporter, joined the crowd, declaring: "We're not going to let this election be stolen. Period."
US sets record for cases amid election battle over virus
New confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. have climbed to an all-time high of more than 86,000 per day on average, in a glimpse of the worsening crisis that lies ahead for the winner of the presidential election.
Cases and hospitalizations are setting records all around the country just as the holidays and winter approach, demonstrating the challenge that either President Donald Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden will face in the coming months.
Daily new confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. have surged 45% over the past two weeks, to a record 7-day average of 86,352, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Deaths are also on the rise, up 15 percent to an average of 846 deaths every day.
The total U.S. death toll is already more than 232,000, and total confirmed U.S. cases have surpassed 9 million. Those are the highest totals in the world, and new infections are increasing in nearly every state.
Several states on Wednesday reported grim numbers that are fueling the national trends. Texas reported 9,048 new cases and 126 deaths, and the number of coronavirus patients in Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma hospitals set records. About a third of the new cases in Texas happened in hard-hit El Paso, where a top health officials said hospitals are at a "breaking point."
Trump and allies spread falsehoods to cast doubt on election
While much of America was sleeping Wednesday morning, President Donald Trump's leads in crucial battleground states began slipping — and that's when online falsehoods about the election started surging.
More than 100,000 votes that Democratic nominee Joe Biden picked up in Wisconsin were evidence of "outright corruption," one Twitter user surmised. The ballots were "MAGICALLY" found, claimed another.
In fact, Biden's early morning comeback in the closely watched Midwestern state was simply the result of absentee and early votes being counted.
With the outcome of the U.S. presidential race still in limbo, Trump and his supporters seized on — and spread — online misinformation about legally cast absentee and mail-in votes in battleground states. They used it as fodder to support the president's baseless declaration on live television early Wednesday that Democrats were trying to "steal the election" from him.
"They are finding Biden votes all over the place — in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan. So bad for our Country!" Trump wrote in a tweet hours later. Trump's campaign filed lawsuits Wednesday in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia, paving the way for him to contest the election's outcome.
World markets rally as markets shrug off election limbo
U.S. futures and world shares surged on Thursday as investors awaited the outcome of the U.S. presidential election and embraced the upside of more gridlock in Washington.
European markets opened higher after a day of gains in Asia, while the fate of the U.S. presidency remained undecided as neither President Donald Trump or Democratic challenger Joe Biden had secured the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win.
Analysts say a Congress likely once again split between a Democratic House and a Republican Senate is expected to keep U.S. tax and other policies relatively stable amid legislative stalemates. And share prices tend to rise regardless of who is in the White House.
Taking reassurance where they can, "markets have been happy to presume that this Democratic White . . . House and Republican Senate is the 'Goldilocks' outcome. In other words, a 'Goldilocks Gridlock,‴ Mizuho Bank said in a commentary.
An expectation that Biden has a chance of winning also has raised hopes that U.S. foreign policies might be "more clear," said Jackson Wong, asset management director of Amber Hill Capital. He added, "investors are cheering for that. That's why the markets are performing well."